Saturday, November 22, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus: First Opinions

I have had an iPhone 6 Plus for almost ttwo weeks now. It has been a fun time. As you may have guessed I am very happy with my Apple experience.

Here is some background: I only bought my first Apple product an iPad Air in June. Having been shown some of the things that Apple phones and tablets can do by a great guy at Guide Dogs for the Blind. He is a fellow guide dog user, he actually has Leif, my guide dog's, half sister and most importantly he is a programmer at Apple in Cupertino. So he knows his stuff about the product and how to use them.

I had been looking to buy a new phone for a while and when I heard of the new iPhone 6 I decided to wait until they were released and then buy an old "reduced price 5's." but the 5's did not come down in price and a 6 Plus was only $100 more to purchase on my current phone plan. So I waited almost two months for the iPhone 6 Plus to be in a store at the right time.

I had limited choice of color, only silver were available at the store but since I am blind and I was going to buy a case anyway. Why bother about colors for the phone.

The phone was set up to take my fingerprint to allow it to work. You also need to set up an unlock code at the same time in order to act as a back-up if the fingerprint system fails. This was good for me as the case I bought means I can't use the fingerprint scan very easily. Fat fingers don't make contact as easily it seems.

Siri, the built in assistant now works if the phone is charging, you can say "Hey Siri!" and Siri activates to do your bidding.

I use Siri to check my stock portfolio, help me call numbers from my contact list and send text messages.  Siri will also read me texts (the last text received) or will tell me what e-mails I have received.

I also like that I can say to Siri, call 571 XXX 1234 when a phone  number is not in my contacts and Siri will dial the number for me. That is a great deal easier than trying to fiddle with a piece of paper trying to read a number, trying to dial in a number as you do so with fingers that hit two numbers at one time. That was sometimes the situation with my old phone/

Siri's voice is clear,  I personally prefer the male voices which are easily changeable in the settings area. I haven't tried Voice Over on the iPhone yet. Just not had time to play around with that function yet, but if it is as good as on the iPad Air there will be few complaints.

So in all after two weeks I am happy with a phone that I can use and functions that are now easily available.

I will keep you posted as I learn more iPhone tricks. Until then maybe you should take a look at this book :


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Walking Through Molasses

Do you ever feel sometimes that you are walking through molasses to get to a goal?

Recently I have felt just that way. Every step forward in recent weeks seems to be at such an effort it hardly seems that I am making progress.

In the summer I made attempts to get the training that I missed out on when I first went blind five years ago. Training in using adaptive technology, training in just living, cooking, organizing. What I now have is a series of ad hoc skills thaat I put together for myself, re-inventing the wheel at every problem.

Anyway earlier this summer I learned that there was no need for that, there are teachers out there to assess and train you and I for those problems. The only problem.

We have to be introduced. We cannot access them ourselves. Civil Servants have to introduce us and agree to pay for the services.

Civil Servant bereaucrats who are the molasses at our feet.

After six months now. I have had an assessment for independent living skilss, a low vision assessment and am waiting on a  workplace assessment.

The low vision test has already bourne fruit, I go to collect some eye glasses on Monday.

The independent living skills has led to an interview and they are recommending actions.

The workplace assessment has been postponed twice by either the assessing agency or my employer.

It is just so frustrating that after five years of inaction and ignoring my requests for help, that now the powers that be just continue to slow down every possible movement forward.

Maybe instead of embedding our feet in the molasses of bureaucracy they should just hang us from our feet and drown us in the damn stuff,

Friday, October 24, 2014

Waiting for my iPhone 6 Plus

Have you seen anyone with an iPhone 6 plus yet?

I haven't. And no that is not just because I am blind, thank you.

No one has come up to me to show their bright new  shiney phone. No-one has called me to tell me they have a nice new iPhone 6 Plus. They  seem only to exist in the realms of TV advertisements and on the showcase stands of my local Best Buy stores.

I have seen one. I even liked the look and feel of the nice display one whivch I first drooled over  almost six weeks ago now.

I had planned on upgrading my old phone to an iPhone 5 when the price fell after the release of the sixes, but that didn't happen. In fact to upgrade from my old phone to an iPhone 5 would cost me only $100 less than to go all-in with the iPhone 6 Plus.

So why not go for that product.

I now sit patiently waiting. I call my phone company, I call Apple, and I call Best Buy.

"Have you an iPhone 6 Plus?" I ask hopefully.

The reply always the same "Not yet."

I long to ask Sirie to make my calls, I want to send texts again, I yearn to be able to take a good photograph on its magnificent camera.

I Wanna be a Geek again!

Sadly I'll have to wait a bit longer. Dreaming of the day when I will hold the sleek line of its body in my hand.  Caressing its screen. Texting and posting merrily.

Or maybe I'll just wait 23 months until the iPhone 7 comes out and I can get the 6plus for the same price as a 5 now?


To read my first opinions of the iPhone 6 Plus click here  iPhone6--plus-first-opinions.





The Geek Mug
The Geek Mug by Bretsuki
Get custom imprinted coffee mugs online at Zazzle.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Support Fresno Chapter, California Council for the Blind

One of the best tools for a blind person to use is, apart from their white cane or guide dog, a support network.

Earlier this summer I was a little adrift as to where to go for help and just a welcoming laugh.

Then I heard that Fresno has a Chapter of the California for the Blind (CCB).

The group recently arranged a fundraiser for the Chapter and I was able to attend. The group offers lots of social help, someone has most certainly already overcome a problem which you are encountering or at least knows a way to get past any obstacles  either with government bereaucracy or just how to get that particular new app to work on your iPhone.

I do design some Teeshirts and have come across a crowd funding Teeshirt printer.

You can help me raise some extra much needed fundds for this great chapter to expand its work in both the sighted and blind communities in and around Fresno.

See the Teeshirt, hoodie or garment of your choice at Support is the Best Tool T-Shirt

Please feel free to share or tweet the link. We need only sell 50 products to support this great group.


For more information on the  Fresno Chapter of CCB See their Facebook Page

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Result of the Low Vision Assessment

Last Wednesday saw me  going to visit a low vision specialist. After being legally blind for five years just the suggestion to go seemed odd, but I am glad that I did go.

We arrived for the appointment bright and early, people here in the U.S. will know going to a new doctor is a hassle with lots of paperwork at the reception describing you medical history.

After my wife filled in all the forms, we went to have my eyes checked for the curve of the eye, eye pressure and such. I had the curve of my eye measured in a machine which held my head in a headrest and then a lens moved in front of my eyes. The machine didn't touch my eye, I am guessing it uses something like a low power laser to measure the distance to the eye.

Then it was into the consulting room with the doctor. He was very pleasant, asked me to go through my particular history of eye problems and then asked me to read an eye chart.

Of course I saw nothing with my left eye, and was able to use some of my right eye peripheral vision to see the charts largest letter dimly.

His assessment was that I have 2800 vision in the right eye, that is well into the realm of legally blind, which I believe is at 200.

Then seemingly inspired he placed a lens in front of my right eye. Suddenly the eye chart cleared and I was able to say that there were two letters on the second line.

So with correction my vision improved to 2400. Still legally blind but "What the Hec!" I saw a second line for the first time in five years.

It seems that no one had recalled that I had been short sighted in the right eye prior to my central retinal vein occlussion, the measurement of the curvature of my eyes had shown this short sightedness, which of course can be treated with glasses.

I will still only have peripheral vision in the right eye, the macular in that eye is destroyed by the blood clots of the CRVO and has been dead for over ten years.

So then the doctor moved over to trying a variety of hand held lenses to help me see, but these didn't work as I have large areas of damaged tissue in the retina which means my vision is a little like looking through a Swiss Cheese. Then he moved me to a monitor and closed circuit television system because of the wider angle of view, my brain could reasonably fill in the blanks of my vision. So he will be suggesting a CCTV enlarger be suitable for me too.

From this one visit I gained a lot of information. The blurredness I see now is mainly the short sightedness, not blindness and easily treatable.

That there is help out there even if sometimes you need to ask several times for it.


"Keep Calm and Have A Cup of Tea "Mug  Available from my Zazzle Store